Day in the Life of an Automattician

In an effort to get to know each other’s work days better, and to share publicly what it is like to work for a distributed company where most of us work from home, some of us at Automattic will be publishing “A Day in the Life” posts on our personal blogs throughout this week. The posts will be tagged #a8cday if you’d like to follow along.

5:30 – Head downstairs to my office with my water bottle to start the day.

Do I like getting up this early? Not really. But with an almost 7-month old baby in the house, it’s important to get my day started early.

Here's my desk set up, complete with LED under mounted lights.
Here’s my desk set up, complete with LED under mounted lights.

I’ve closed down most things from last night, so I open up the ticket queue. Before I dive into answering tickets, I open up Focus@Will. It’s an online service that plays word free music and gets me in the zone to work. I typically set the timer for 25 minutes and start working and that’s exactly what I did this morning.

Start answering tickets starting with the oldest. 13hrs old, 20 in the queue.

Normally there would would hundreds of support requests to attend to, but I’m on a rotation with the VaultPress Team. The VaultPress volume is less, but the tickets are much trickier and usually take much longer to resolve.

A few ticket examples from this morning:
– How can I cancel my account?
– My website isn’t backing up, PLEASE HELP!
– Is it possible to backup up multiple installations of WordPress on my server?

Over the course of 3 Focus@Will sessions, there are only 3 left in the queue.

7:00 – Moved to the dining room table. My wife is starting to get ready for work and I’m on baby listening duty.

Start reading internal posts (also referred to as P2 posts, based on P2 Theme to catch up what’s been going on across the company since yesterday

Saw the notification about the new version of the Beta VaultPress iOS app, so I install it / start to play with it and test out the new features. Cool new features on the horizon.

Download the App Here

25 minute block got me thru all my P2 posts

8:00 – Breakfast and play time with daughter. Anxiously wait for in home baby sitter to come so I can get back to work :)

9:00 – Grab my computer and head down to my office.

I pull up Codeschool.com to learn a bit of Javascript. Automattic allows us to spend time each week learning new skills. During the past year, I’ve refreshed my HTML/CSS skills and mastered improved my Sass skills. Now I’m digging into Javascript because it seems like everywhere I look, I’m seeing Javascript code.

Today’s lesson: loops. Focused on for and while loops and how to print text to a browser. I’m getting good with console.log("Print this out");

10:00 – Browse other a8cday posts to get inspiration / see how my colleagues are creating their blog posts.

10:30 – Back to the ticket queue. Sitting at 18 resolved posts right now

Second ticket in came from a colleague pointing out that a reminder email we send out is slightly outdated. After a brief chat on Slack (our internal communication tool) I posted to the VaultPress team’s P2 (our internal blog) to let our team know and for us to create a todo to get it fixed.

11:00 – Quick break to jump rope. 52 consecutive jumps and a few grapes as a snack. With all the traveling in the last 3 weeks (only been home 2 days), I’m slowly getting back into doing physical activity inside. I’ve found jump roping, pushups and pull-ups are great to do in batches when I need a break.

Keeping answering tickets in the queue. Finally get the queue back down to 5.

12:00 – Few errands and lunch.

2:00 – Back to it. This time at standing desk. Usually I spend more time at my standing desk, but I’m slowly getting back into it after being ‘lazy’ for a few weeks.

Pings from coworkers distract me from working on my WordPress Project.

I’m one of the go-to people when there is a WordPress.com podcasting question, so I chat about podcasting for awhile.

I realize that I have too much going on today to spend time on a project right now, so I move that block of time until tomorrow and spend more time answering tickets.

During this time, I continue to work for 25 minutes and break for 5 minutes. During the breaks, I refill my water bottle, do misc. tasks around the house, or jump rope. At one point, I got to 72 consecutive jumps :)

4:00 – One more read thru P2 posts and email and then tidy up my crazy ridiculous to do list and I’m wrapped up for the day.

Babysitter is leaving, so it’s time to go play with blocks and other toys.

That’s my day in a nutshell! My days vary based on the availability of our babysitter. Sound like something you’d enjoy? Apply today we’re always hiring.

Goodbye Concrete Slab

Ever since we’ve moved into our house (August 2010), we’ve hated our outdoor living space.

Our house had a 12′ by 12′ concrete slab, which wasn’t quite big enough for our six person table, grill and tower garden. When we had people over, we brought out the folding chairs and table and placed them on the uneven grass.

Well, today is the last day for the old concrete slab. Tomorrow a local company, Deal’s Landscaping, will be cleaning out the old and preparing for our new paver patio.

Here are some before images:

Featured Image -- 173

Barbados

Dustin Hartzler:

Had a great time last week with some of my Automattic coworkers!

Originally posted on Ryan C.:

The company I work for, Automattic, is a distributed company. That means our employees live and work all over the world. A few times each year, we meet up to spend time working and having fun together. I’ve just returned from a meetup in Barbados, where we worked on the email subscription feature of WordPress.com and Jetpack.

View original 126 more words

Thankful for our Friends

This weekend, my college roommate and his wife traveled from Columbus to hang out with us for a few hours and to meet Kenley face-to-face (as we’ve previously only Skyped).

Today, a friend from our church came over to hold her during the day so mommy could sleep and daddy could work.

We’ve had dozens of people stop by, bring food, and lend a helping hand.

Even though we’d enjoy moving to somewhere where it’s warm all the time, it would be hard to give up all of our friends who love and support who are here.

I think we’ll be in Dayton for quite some time (as a permanent location).

Best Time to Have a Baby

Even though our daughter came into this world almost a week and a half past her due date, I think having a child the second week of March is the perfect time.

This was our position for nearly every game.
This was our position for nearly every game.

The main reason, basketball is on TV.

The Thursday after she was born, all of the collegiate tournament games started and went through that entire first weekend.

Then came March Madness, where we probably watched a good two dozen games together.

Another reason is that the days are starting to get longer. It’s relatively easy to get up and start your day, even when you’ve only gotten 4 hours of sleep, when the sun is shining.

Plus the days are getting warmer. One of these days, we might try taking a walk as a family of three.

And finally, the last best reason to have a baby in March is that my daughter now gets to share a birthday with me :)

Getting Dressed Up

Tonight my wife was inducted into the Ohio Pharmacists Association (OPA) Board of Trustees with a semi-formal dinner banquet.

Now I’m not normally drug (no pun intended) to these types of things, but since we have a brand new baby that’s getting 100% of her nutrition from Mommy, I got to attend.

For this special occasion, I had the privilege of dressing up, dress pants, shirt, tie, and dress shoes. I can’t remember the last time I looked so fancy.

Typically, I wear mesh shorts and a t-shirt. If I have to leave the house, I’ll change into jeans.

Okay, back to getting ready to go.

After successfully picking out a tie, since my wife didn’t like the first two options I suggested, I attempted to tie the tie.

Tying a tie is like riding a bike right? Once you learn, you’ll never forget.

Well, I could remember the process of double loop, pull up from the bottom and tuck, but I couldn’t remember how the long the short end of the tie needed to be.2014-04-05 23.31.11

My first try resulted in my tie almost reaching my belly button.

Tries 2 – 5 resulted in a tie that was much too long.

Attempts 6 and 7 again resulted in a tie too short.

Finally on the 8th attempt, I finally got it.

And I have to admit, I look pretty good in a tie.

I’ll try wearing one again in about 6 months :)

Accomplished Big WordPress Goal Today

As most of you know, I’m a huge WordPress fan, even so much so that I now work for Automattic, the company behind WordPress.

For the last few years, I’ve had a goal of contributing to WordPress core. Basically I wanted to find a bug in the code somewhere and notify the team and have the bug fixed.

Well, today is that day.

It all started yesterday when a user wrote in with a problem with their website. With their current theme, when they added the form for people to subscribe to their blog, the text box was completely white, without a border and the text inside the box was white as well.

After confirming that it was a bug with the theme, I submitted my first bug report to WordPress core. Here is the link to the trac ticket:
https://core.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/27677#ticket

And here is the screenshot of my ticket:
trac ticket

Three Week’s Old

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a father for three weeks now.

On one hand it seems like it was months ago that we were in the hospital giving birth to Kenley Rae, but on the other hand each day goes so by so quickly that it seems like the weeks are flying by.

It’s such a joy to be able to work from home and help out around the house during the day and watch my daughter grow up.

Here’s a few pictures of her growing up:

Horrible April Fool’s Joke

Carte di credito e tastiera

Yesterday I got a call from our credit card company validating an $8.90 charge to a glass stemware company in Alabama, uh, no.

After a few minutes on the phone and validating all the other recent charges were legit, the card number was shut down. It’s not a big deal, I don’t have to pay for the fraudulent charge and a new card is on my way tomorrow.

But it is annoying for two reasons:

First, I have my credit card number memorized so it’s quick and convenient for me to purchase things online. I memorized it after several times trying to purchase something on my computer and I didn’t have my wallet with me.

Second, I now have to go thru and update my payment information for all of the companies that I have automatically drafted each month to our card. If I were to guess, I probably have 15 different places I now have to update once I get our new card.

If only this was an April Fool’s joke!

Welcome Baby Hartzler!

Dustin Hartzler:

Some pictures of our little miracle Kenley Rae

Originally posted on DustinAndMelody.com:

Just a quick post to share with our family and friends our precious bundle of joy that arrived 2 weeks ago!  Kenley Rae Hartzler was born on March 12th at 5:03 pm. She weighed 8 lbs 3 oz and was 21.5 inches long.  She is going to be tall like her folks!  Can’t believe she is 2 weeks old today, while we might only be getting 4-5 hours of sleep in spurts on a good night, it has been such a joy and we are so thankful for her! It is such an amazing miracle of God.   We still can’t fathom how tiny cells grow to be this over 8 lb beautiful baby.  We pray that God would use her life in a mightly way for His glory.  Thank you for all your prayers and support, continued prayers for our transition!

Love,

Dustin & Melody

“For you formed my…

View original 97 more words

no-nsa

The Day We Fight Back: Protest NSA Surveillance on Your Blog

Dustin Hartzler:

Yes please!

Originally posted on WordPress.com News:

Today, a broad coalition of interest groups, websites, and people around the world are joining together to fight back against government surveillance. We’re supporting the “Day We Fight Back” on WordPress.com and have created a banner that you can easily add to your WordPress.com blog to get involved, too.

The “Stop NSA Surveillance” banner shows support for this important cause and provides a link to a page of resources to help visitors to contact members of the US Congress to support much needed anti-surveillance legislation. For more information, please visit thedaywefightback.org.

How to add the banner to your site

Here’s how to add the banner to your site in three steps:

  1. In your WordPress.com dashboard, go to Settings  Protest NSA Surveillance.
  2. Click on the checkbox labelled Protest Enabled.
  3. Click on the Save Changes button for the change to take effect.

The banner will remain on…

View original 15 more words

Happy New Year!

2014 is going to be an incredible year for the Hartzler’s.

In additional to expanding our family with our daughter on approximately February 28th we will be adding two brother-in-laws and a niece and a nephew!

Melody’s sister is getting married in June and my sister is getting married in the fall (date, TBD).

Our little family is getting bigger :)

I think 2014 is going to be a crazy year, but hopefully the best one yet!

automattic-logo

Happiness Engineer

Today it’s official. I’m starting full-time at Automattic. Automattic is the company behind WordPress.com.

I say that today it’s official, even though I’ve been working with the awesome Automatticians for the last six weeks. Secretly, I’ve been going through a trial rotation to make sure that I am a good fit for the company.

The last six weeks have been incredible. I’m excited to join the distributed team of amazing people who live all over the world!

Each day, I’ll be doing my part to make the web a better place. The Happiness Engineering position is a unique mix of tech support, bug reporting, feature testing, training, and documentation for Automattic’s products and services.

I’ve spent the last three years learning and teaching about WordPress and today, I get to be part of the team that can change the way we publish online.

If you’re as big of a WordPress fan as I am, you should apply too!